The International Criminal Court’s prosecutor on Friday opened an initial probe to see if war crimes have been committed against Palestinians, including during last year’s Gaza war.
“Today the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Fatou Bensouda opened a preliminary examination into the situation in Palestine,” her office said in a statement, adding it may lead to a full-blown investigation.
Bensouda said her office would conduct its “analysis in full independence and impartiality.”
“A preliminary examination is not an investigation but a process of examining the information available in order to reach a fully informed determination on whether there is a reasonable basis to proceed with a (full) investigation,” Bensouda said.
Depending on her findings, Bensouda will decide at a later stage whether to launch or quash the investigation, based on the initial probe.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian ambassador to Russia, Faid Mustafa, told Ma’an that the Palestinian Authority had begun to prepare documents in order to lodge formal war crimes accusations against Israel.
President Mahmoud Abbas signed requests to join the ICC and 16 other conventions after the Security Council failed to adopt a resolution paving the way to full statehood.
Palestine’s move to join the ICC is also seen as part of a shift in strategy to internationalize its campaign for statehood and move away from the stalled US-led peace process.
The US has branded the ICC move as “counterproductive.”
Israel responded by delaying the transfer of $127 million in taxes it collects on behalf of the Palestinians in retaliation for the attempt to press war crimes charges.
(Agencies and Ma’an – www.maannews.net)